If there was a word to describe the view on top of Mt Kalugong, it would be ‘stunning’. Above the Valley, you’ll be able to see the wide strawberry farms, thousands of pine trees, a sneak peek of Baguio, and the humble town of La Trinidad, Benguet.
‘Kalugong’ is a local word which means ‘hat’. Mt Kalugong was named as such because the rock formations on top of the mountain make it look like a hat. When you’re down the valley, you’ll clearly see the hat shape.
How to Get There
From Manila, ride a bus going to Baguio. Travel time is around 6 hours.
Travel Tip: You can book your bus tickets in advance.
From Baguio, ride a jeep going to Tomay/Camp Dangwa. Ask the driver to drop you off near the road going to Mt Kalugong. Yes, you read that right. There is a road going to the top of Mt Kalugong. If you have a car, you can drive up to the eco-park. Be careful though, the road is steep.
On the other hand, if you choose to walk/hike, just follow the road going up. Hiking takes about 30 minutes.
When we decided to go up the mountain, we heard that there were two routes. First is via the hiking trail in Tabangaoen and the second is the road going up in Cruz. Wanderers as we were, my friend and I chose the first option.
There were no clear directions as to where the trail was or if there were guides so we decided to ask the locals. Some of them said that the trail was closed while others said it was still open.
Filled with hope, we tried to follow some trail until we found ourselves lost in someone’s backyard. The peak was so visible that we thought we were on the right track.
Turns out, the trail to the peak was closed a long time ago. We gave up and decided to go with option 2. We rode a jeep and walked the steep road going up the mountain.
Mt Kalugong Eco Park
After a long sweaty walk, we finally reached the stress-free zone of Mt Kalugong. We paid the 100 pesos entrance fee. The place is so relaxing. There are swings, hammocks, and kubos built around.
You can pitch a tent, set up a picnic, or just do photo ops. You can also visit the newly opened coffee-house.
Tayawan View Deck
From the Eco Park, just 3 minutes away is the Tayawan View Deck where you can see the houses and other buildings around La Trinidad.
Going to the view deck, you’ll pass by some rock formations.
Kalugong Rock Formations
The highlight of Mt Kalugong is its rock formations. Climbing it is a bit tricky, you have to find the right spot to step on, but once you’re at the top, the view will take your breath away.
Where to Eat
The Mt. Kalugong Kape-an/ Cafe has one of the best views in La Trinidad, Benguet. Some of the tourists mainly go to Mt Kalugong to taste the coffee offered in this cafe and get the best seat in the house for sunset viewing.
If you get hungry, you can fill your tummy at this awesome cafe.
Where to Stay
- If you want to stay for the night, you can book one of the cabins for the night for around P800+ (good for 2 persons), or huts for P900.
- Love to camp? It will cost you P250 per person if you bring your own tents.
- If you want to try something new, you can also experience glamping by BLOC.
Responsible Travel Tips
When traveling to one place, make sure you practice responsible tourism. Here are some tips to do so.
1. Respect the environment
Don’t litter. Please hold onto your trash until you find a garbage can.
2. Avoid single-use plastic
Be sure to bring your eco bag and say no to single-use plastic. Help save Mother Earth.
3. Shop local
Keep the traditional crafts alive and support local artisans. Buy from them. And try not to haggle, P20 may seem small to you but it can mean a lot to them.
4. Always ask permission
Be sure to ask for permission first when taking photos or videos especially when it comes to children.
What to Pack for Mt Kalugong
Always pack light so you can easily carry your bag around and avoid worrying about your stuff being left behind.
For Day Hike
If you’re just going on a day hike, here are some items I’d recommend you to bring and wear:
- insect repellent
- drinking water
- camera (gotta take those shots!)
- power bank (or just fully charge your phone!)
- spare cash
- hiking shoes
- cap (it can get hot during midday)
- umbrella or raincoat (in case it rains)
- lightweight clothing
- first aid kit (better be safe than sorry)
- packed lunch
For Camping/Overnight Stays
Aside from the list above, include the following items in your backpack:
- tent (unless you’re planning to rent)
- fleece blanket or sleeping bag (it’s cold at night!)
- camping stove (if you want to cook) or just buy cooked food
Related Article: The Only Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need (Trust Me)
And that’s it. If you have any questions about Mt Kalugong, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get back to you.
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